“Cruelty-Free" Future: The EU Market Stands Against Animal Testing in the Cosmetics Industry

In about 80% of the world, animal testing is still permitted in the cosmetics industry. Originally, animal testing was conducted in the name of human safety, but as more and more alternatives emerge, the decision to continue animal testing in cosmetics is being driven primarily by the bottom line: cheap materials, cheap labor and the availability of animals for testing.

The notable exception to this is the EU Market, which, in 2004, introduced regulations on animal testing, and began a transition to a complete ban on the sale or import of cosmetic products which have been tested on animals. The restriction applies both to finished products and their individual ingredients.

Whether or not your cosmetic company is interested in developing, or maintaining, a "cruelty-free" brand, it is undeniable that change is in the air.

Facing Initial Resistance to Change

Even at the start of the 21st century, animal testing on cosmetic products was still the norm. When the EU first introduced the animal testing ban for finished cosmetics in 2004, followed by a second ban on animal-tested ingredients in 2009, powerful industrial groups resistant to change lobbied for a partial extension for certain products before the ban took full effect.

Spokesmen for the industry argued that the ban was unfairly put in place before alternatives could be found. But the EU's conviction, that pressure is more effective than time when pushing for innovation, has paid off. Earlier this year, lawmakers in Europe called for the EU to use its position to encourage a worldwide ban on cosmetic animal testing.

Miriam Dalli, the lawmaker who headed the resolution, said: “Humane alternatives to animal tests can include simple organisms like bacteria or human tissues and cells, as well as sophisticated computer models.”

How Does Your Cosmetics Company Benefit in this Changing Landscape?

If your company is looking to grow its market by attracting a new generation of consumers, it’s very likely you have either already made the switch to "cruelty-free" or intend to take steps towards it.

While the transition may seem complicated in the short term, your ethical stance will help you discover or develop new and humane ways to test your products, which will benefit not only animal welfare but also your consumers.

QIMA's Lab Testing and Inspection Service can help you see your progressive testing methods through to the finished product. Whether you intend to enter the lucrative EU market or beyond, to the growing number of consumers no longer at ease with unnecessary animal testing, we can offer industry consultation from the very start.

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